Revenge Porn (Penal Code 647(j)(4) PC)

What is California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn?

California prohibits the recording and taking of sexual images of another person, who consented to the taking of the image with the understanding that they were to remain private, and distributing them publicly without the victim’s consent. This is commonly known as “revenge porn”. However, in the law books, the crime of revenge porn is referred to as nonconsensual pornography.

Revenge porn is a growing phenomenon as people are sharing sexual images of themselves more and more in an increasingly digital age. In response to the increase in revenge porn, California added nonconsensual pornography to the list of sex crimes prohibited in the state just a few years ago. In addition to being classified as a sex crime, California also considers revenge porn as a computer crime in certain circumstances.

Revenge porn is codified in the law books as Penal Code 647(j)(4). If you are charged with California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn, we recommended that you read this entire webpage. You will learn about the legal definition of the crime, its potential penalties, and the available legal defenses. As Sex Crimes Attorneys, we believe our clients should be as educated as possible about the charges they face. It will help them understand the important issues surrounding their particular case and help them deal with the inevitable ups and downs of their criminal prosecution. Furthermore, it will help you help us in finding out the information needed to avoid a California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn conviction.

Let’s now examine the legal definition of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn. This way you can get an idea of what are the most important issues that typically come up in California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn cases.

The Legal Definition of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn

Before you can be convicted of a California sex crime in a trial, where the verdict is decided by a judge or a jury, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of the crimes that you are charged with. An “element” is simply a fact related to the crime. The prosecutor must prove each element to a certain degree of certainty. For California sex crimes, the level of certainty required is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Keep in mind that the requirement that the prosecutor prove each element only applies to verdicts decided in trial. You can still be convicted of a California sex crime if you formally confess or accept a plea offer.

The elements of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn are as follows:

  • You possess an image of the private parts of another recognizable person OR You possess an image of another person participating in sexual intercourse, oral copulation, masturbation or sodomy.
  • You purposefully distributed the image.
  • It was understood by you and the victim that the picture would be kept private.
  • You knew or should have known that distributing the image would cause the alleged victim significant emotional pain.
  • The alleged victim experienced emotional pain.

Let’s now explore each of these elements more closely so that you can get a sense of what are the most common issues surrounding California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn criminal prosecutions. Remember, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn.

Images with Sexual Content

California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn covers a wide range of images. Hence, you could be subject to liability under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if you shared images containing any of the following behaviors: sexual intercourse, masturbation, S&M, animal sex, oral sex, sodomy, and even just images of private parts on their own.

Images

Images refers to films, photos, or videos. They can be created by any means, including electronically or mechanically. Today, the most common form of revenge porn is derived from smart phone created images – usually distributed by the alleged victim to the defendant via texting or social media.

Identifiable Images

The prosecutor has to prove that the images that were distributed contained private parts of the alleged victim that were somehow identifiable. This means that if the images were blurry, then you cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn. However, it is important to note that “identifiable” does not only mean that the alleged victim’s face is clearly displayed. Other qualities that make a victim “identifiable” include tattoos, distinctive clothing, birthmarks, etc. Even the background of a photo could “identify” a photo. The photo might clearly show a particular person’s backyard, room in a house, or have a customized piece of artwork in the background that could identify an alleged victim.

Purposefully Distributed the Image

You “purposefully distributed” an image if you personally shared it, arranged for its distribution, specifically requested its distribution, or purposefully caused a third person to share it for you.

Under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn, the following methods of distributing images do not subject you to criminal liability: distributing an image for the purposes of reporting illegal behavior, to comply with a court subpoena/order, or in the course of a legal hearing.

Knew or Should Have Known Did Not Have Permission to Distribute

You can be punished under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if you knew did not have permission of the alleged victim to distribute the images. You can also be punished under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if you should have knew that you did not have permission to distribute the images. This means you can be guilty under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn even if you did not mean to act against the wishes of the alleged victim. You can be subject to liability for acting recklessly in distributing the photos.

The court will decide if you “should have known” by using what is called an objective test. The court will think about what a hypothetical, reasonable person would do in the same situation. If this hypothetical reasonable person would know that they did not have permission to do so, then you are liable under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn. However, if this hypothetical reasonable person would not have known, then the charges against you will be dismissed. This aspect of the law is designed to prevent people from re-distributing the photos. In these type of situations, you want a Sex Crimes Attorney who is experienced conducting a trial, especially when it comes to selecting a jury. This is because the jury selected can make or break your case on this issue. The issue of what is “reasonable” varies from person to person. A young person might not think your actions were unreasonable. However, an older lady might think your actions were very unreasonable. Thus, as you can tell, the jury selected can make the difference between a finding of guilt or innocence.

What are the Potential Penalties for California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn?

California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn is classified as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted for the first time under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn, then you face any and all of the following punishments: a maximum of 6 months in a county jail, a maximum fine of up to $1,000, and misdemeanor probation.

However, the potential punishments increase if you were previously convicted under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn or Penal Code 647 PC Invasion of Privacy. The potential punishments also increase if the victim of the California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn act was a minor. If either of these two situations are true, then your potential punishments under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn include any and all of the following: a maximum of 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of up to $2,000, and misdemeanor probation. Additionally, you may be subject to California’s child pornography laws and associated punishments if the victim is under the age.

What are the legal defenses of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn?

The penalties under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn can be quit severe. Beyond the fines, prison time, and probation, a conviction under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn can lead to a lifetime of harmful social stigma. It can significantly harm a young man or woman’s chances of getting into college or professional school. It can significantly harm or prevent you from getting a job, let alone any employment at all. If you are a licensed professional, a conviction under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn can subject you to professional discipline where you could potentially lose your license.

Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses available to fight California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn charges. A Sex Crimes attorney can review the specific circumstances of your case and design a defense strategy that utilizes all available legal defenses. By leveraging these defenses against the prosecution, a Sex Crimes Attorney can get charges dismissed or reduced even before your trial. Let’s us examine some of the more common defenses to California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn.

You did not purposefully distribute the image.

You cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if it can be proven that you purposefully distributed the sexual images. This requirement could work both in your favor and against your favor. On one hand, the jury and the judge may not give you the benefit of the doubt. This is especially true if your relationship with the alleged victim soured before the distribution of the image. However, on the other hand, it is very difficult to get inside the mind of a person to show their intentions. The prosecutor will have to rely on circumstantial evidence. Because of this, your Sex Crimes Attorney can increase your odds of beating the charges by building up the evidentiary record in your favor. Your Sex Crimes Attorney can argue that you accidentally posted the image or that somebody else posted the image. Your Sex Crimes Attorney can point out that the alleged victim had multiple ex-partners who could have posted the picture or that multiple people were in possession and position to post the image.

You did not intend to cause the victim emotional distress.

You cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if you did not intend to cause the alleged victim emotional distress. Again, as discussed above, it is difficult to prove what exactly is going on inside a defendant’s head. This could work for you in that it makes it difficult for prosecutor to prove your intent. However, it makes it difficult to disprove intent if the jury does not give you the benefit of the doubt. In these types of cases, your Sex Crimes Attorney can argue that you distributed the image for a purpose other than causing the alleged victim emotional pain. For example, your Sex Crimes Attorney can provide admissible evidence showing that you only shared the images because you thought it was be a victimless joke. Or your Sex Crimes Attorney can argue that you shared the images because you wanted to brag about your sexual conquests. Although these arguments do not cast you in a positive light, they represent actions that are not illegal under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn. Therefore, you may not come out squeaky clean, but you will avoid prison time under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn if your Sex Crimes Attorney can show that these were your actual intents.

You are falsely accused.

It is sadly not uncommon for someone to face false accusations of California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn. This is because revenge porn usually involves two people who were at one time in a romantic relationship with another. It is possible that the alleged victim is angry at you for ending the relationship and wants revenge. It is possible that another ex-partner is angry or jealous and wants to strike out by posting revenge porn and are using you as the scapegoat. Regardless of the reason, your Sex Crimes Attorney can utilize a variety of substantive and procedural tools to bring the truth to light. Your Sex Crimes Attorney can hire a private investigator to interview potential witnesses. This is important because often times the police only interview the alleged victim. This means the evidentiary record is automatically tilted against you unless your Sex Crimes Attorney includes witnesses in your favor. Your Sex Crimes Attorney can also subpoena the phone, email, or computer records of the alleged victim or a potential suspect. Additionally, your Sex Crimes Attorney can have you take a private polygraph test (lie detector test). These tests are conducted by former police officers who have credibility with the judge. If you pass the test, the results can be used to get the charges against you dismissed. If you don’t pass the test for whatever reason, the results are confidential and thrown out. It is as if you never took the lie detector test in the first place.

Related Crimes to California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn

Penal Code 653.2 PC Indirect Electronic Harassment: This crime is often charged in cases where revenge porn is distributed upon an intimate relationship ending badly. Like California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn, it is also considered a computer crime. The potential penalties under this crime are similar to California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn.

Penal Code 647(j) Invasion of Privacy: This law differs from California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn in that the recording of the images is done secretly. In California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn, the images are recorded at the consent and with the knowledge of the alleged victim. California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn focuses on the unlawful distribution of images while invasion of privacy focuses on the unlawful recording of images. The penalties for invasion of privacy are very similar to California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn.

What Should I Do If I am Charged With California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn?

The potential punishments under California Penal Code 647(j(4) PC Revenge Porn can be quite severe and can last a lifetime. It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable Sex Crimes Attorney on your side that can review the specifics of your case and build an effective legal strategy.

Of course, finding the right Sex Crimes Attorney can be an important, but difficult process. We invite you to speak with one of our Sex Crimes Attorney. They will happily go over your case with you. They will tell you about the most important issues revolving around your case, the potential punishments, and what you can do to fight the charges. Our Sex Crimes Attorneys believe in zealous representation of their clients. They also believe that the client should as knowledgeable as possible about their criminal prosecution.

Feel free to call one of our Sex Crimes Attorneys at 424-835-9799